When it comes to exercise and weight-loss there are more theories out there than stars in the heavens. As warm weather approaches these theories seep out of the woodwork in the form of books, exercise tapes and philosophies – all for sale. Currently on the market are the no-fat-diet, the low-fat diet, the no-carbs diet, Atkins and Paleo, Weight Watchers and of course virtually every washed up celebrity has a diet out there he or she swears by. However, regardless of these fads, weight-loss and healthy exercise come down to a few basic facts.
Weight loss depends in large part on one’s metabolism. Metabolism is, according to the Mayo Clinic, “the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.” Every person’s metabolism is different, and is not a static rate. Age, weight, sex and body composition all play a role in one’s metabolism. Larger bodies burn more calories, men tend to be leaner and as one ages muscle decreases, and fat increases, affecting calorie-burning rates. Likewise digestion and physical activity play a role in every individual’s metabolic rate.
The Mayo Clinic also warns those wanting to lose weight, but seeking extreme measures that their bodies will compensate for the deprivation by slowing the metabolism down, making weight loss even harder. To lose weight for the long-term, a multi-pronged approach must be taken.
First of all your body must burn more calories than consumed. Exercise helps burn off unwanted pounds and boosts metabolism, but being physically active does more than just burn calories, it builds muscle. Muscle has been proven to burn 35 calories a day at rest, while fat burns just 2. According to WebMD.com building muscle is as important as aerobic exercise, because not only does one burn calories while building muscle, but also those muscles continue working long after the workout has ended.
A good, nutritious diet has a role to play in weight-loss as well. The difference between a good workout and a truly painful one has a lot to do with the fuel given the body in the hours leading up to the exercise session. Once again theories abound with what to eat, when to eat and if one should eat at all before a workout.
Health care professionals generally recommend a light, whole grain carbohydrate 20 minutes before exercise, with a touch of low-fat protein. This ensures that fat is burned during a workout and not much needed proteins. Heavy sugar carbohydrates and white bread type foods are also not recommended as these foods are quickly turned into sugars by the body, create an insulin rise within the body, and are followed by a crash not long afterward. These foods pre-workout translate into a shorter, less intense workout due to low energy. Additionally, many find that they experience stomach and gastro-intestinal discomfort when sweet snacks are consumed pre-workout.
In addition to moving one’s body more and consuming good food, changing the perception of food is critical to successful weight loss. To understand the food one eats as fuel for the work, exercise and mental exertions required of the body, enables one to move food out of the emotional realm and into the practical. Taking the time to understand the glycemic index can truly help one to grapple with the sugars in food and the way the body processes food, even seemingly harmless foods like potatoes or pineapple. Alongside calorie counting and calorie burning, a glycemic index in the kitchen or dining area is a great tool to see how easily your body processes each food and the energy and nutrition the body receives from these same foods.
Critical to body image is more than a number on the scale, but rather feeling healthy, strong and active. Creating this type of lifestyle, and understanding how the body works day-in-and-day-out is a life-long tool and an investment in health throughout a lifetime.
Learn more about your body’s metabolism, and the type of exercise that would most benefit your body for weight loss and body management today at the Aspen Club and Spa. Personal trainers are on staff to help you get started! Pop in today for a tour and meet trainers and staff throughout the facility!